Recipe only: click here for the full story of this lush, indulgent cake.
Guinness Stout Chocolate Layer Cake
1/3 cup Guinness Stout (measured after foam has subsided)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, non-dutched
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup Guinness Stout (measured after foam has subsided)
2/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons, unsweetened cocoa powder, non-dutched
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
¾ cup buttermilk
1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached white flour
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup currant jelly, warmed
1 ½ cups heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar
4 ½ tablespoons cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1. To prepare Drizzling Syrup, combine all syrup ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan, whisking until smooth. Heat over medium heat, until sugar dissolves and syrup is smooth. Set aside.
2. To prepare cake, pour stout over currants; cover and soak until plump.
3. Drain currants, reserving stout. Add stout to a small saucepan. Whisk in 1/3 cup cocoa and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; add semisweet chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Cool slightly. Stir in buttermilk.
4. Preheat oven to 350F.
5. Combine 2 tablespoons cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Coat two 8- or 9-inch square or round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with cocoa mixture.
6. Beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 3/4 cups sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
7. Combine 2 cups flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. Do not overbeat. (Batter may look curdled.) Stir in soaked currants.
8. Divide batter between pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; invert cakes onto racks.
9. Poke tops of cake layers with a skewer or toothpick. Spoon Drizzling Syrup over tops. Place one layer on a platter. Spread warmed jelly over the cake layer on the platter. Chill 30 minutes.
10. To make the icing, bring cream to a boil. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling cream over it, and whisk until chocolate melts and is thoroughly combined. Cover tightly and chill. Chill beaters from a hand-held mixture at the same time.
11. Up to 3 hours before serving the cake, whip chocolate mixture with a hand-held mixer. When soft peaks form, sift in confectioners’ sugar and cocoa and add vanilla and salt. Continue whipping until combined.
12. Spread about a quarter of the Bittersweet Icing over the jelly-covered layer. Place second cake layer on top.
13. Ice top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Press nuts into sides of cake.